Starting to Explore the Enneagram

A few days ago, I read on another blogger’s post about the enneagram and suddenly got interested in exploring it. At first, I thought it may be against Christian values, so I shouldn’t be exploring it if I’m serious about being a Christian. Then I checked out some books on it anyway and discovered that several actually look at the enneagram from a traditional Christian perspective.

I first got Helen Palmer’s book The Enneagram, which explained the basics of how the enneagram works. I honestly had no idea at first. I mean, I saw it as just another personality typology just like the MBTI and had little idea that the points are actually connected in several mathematical ways.

I took an enneagram test and it showed I’m a Four with a strong Five wing. I’m still undecided whether that’s correct or I’m really a Five with a strong Four wing. After all, I really do feel deeply (which is consistent with type Four), but I don’t easily verbalize my emotions.

I got a book off Bookshare called The Enneagram Type 4 by Beth McCord. This book is rooted in the Christian faith and the enneagram alike. The first chapter explores faith and the enneagram from a type Four perspective. It starts out by giving an overview of the type.

In the first part, Fours are described as having a deep and rich emotional life. My gut response was: that may be me, but is it truly me or is it what I want to be? Then the explanation goes on to talk about how Fours see themselves as somehow apart from the rest of humanity. They often feel that they’re missing something that everyone else has. Wowah, that’s so me! When I read on, I got a flashback of my father telling my psychiatrist shortly after my admission to the psych hospital, that I just want to be different. Maybe he’s right in some way.

Fours also long for the ideal life and are constantly seeking to change their circumstances and themselves to try to find that “missing piece”. Wow. I read somewhere that most Fours keep the door even in a committed relationship ajar, always keeping the possibility open that their truer love will come by at some point. I don’t do this with my marriage, but I certainly do this with my living situation.

At the end of the chapter, there are some questions for reflection. One of them is about rescuing yourself or bringing about change on your own. How have you attempted to rescue yourself?

Well, for me, I’ve constantly been on the lookout for a better living situation. Even just yesterday, for no apparent reason, I started looking at another care agency’s website to see if I might fit better into one of their homes.

I feel constantly insecure because of my childhood trauma. Then again, maybe I’m also hopelessly looking for an ideal that doesn’t exist.

A thought that has been on my mind for a while now, is what one of my fellow patients at the locked unit told me back in 2007: I need to work on me, not on circumstances. This ran totally counter to my admission’s objective, which was to find a suitable living facility for me. However, now, over thirteen years later, it’s truer than ever. I am in the best possible living situation already and there’s no perfect place. Besides, I always take me to whatever place I go.

The last question for reflection is how realizing you belong to Christ helps you? It is still hard for me to truly surrender to belonging in Christ, so I’m not 100% sure how to respond. However, when I can get myself to understand that I truly am God’s beloved child and belong to Christ, it will radically transform my life. I no longer need to be on the lookout for the perfect life, since I’m made whole through Jesus.

25 thoughts on “Starting to Explore the Enneagram

  1. I had a therapist years ago have me take the quiz to explore me. I’m a two and it fits me pretty well. I’ve taken the test several times over the course of my life and it always comes back a two 😀 anyway it is fascinating. And good for introspection

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    1. Yes, it definitely is fascinating. I used to be mostly into the MBTI types, but now that I know more about the enneagram, I find that at least as interesting. I can totally see that you’re a Two.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve seen The Sacred Enneagram is available on Bookshare (the accessible book service for blind or dyslexic people). I’ll certainly check it out. That other book I hadn’t heard of before, but will check for that one too.

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  2. I’ve taken the test but haven’t moved beyond just knowing my results. I often think I answer the way I think I’m supposed to and skew my results. Who knows? It is interesting to me how we are all so different! Your last sentence is powerful and something to cling to!

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  3. I’ve never heard of enneagrams before, anything that can help you to tell more about your personality and how you can work best is useful x

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    1. I don’t think the enneagram has any basis in scientific psychology. I heard about it in college while being a psych major, but not in my psychology classes. It’s more based in spirituality. That being said, it definitely does help me be more self-aware.

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  4. I recently heard about through the ‘That Sounds Fun’ podcast andlearnt a little more through the ‘Lead to Win’ podcast. Lots of interesting insights and it has already helped me to understand myself.

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